Young Haverhill gymnasts thriving in new facilities

SUCCESSFUL: Eleanor Bunch (left) and Lindsey Swanger from Haverhill Gymnastics Club
SUCCESSFUL: Eleanor Bunch (left) and Lindsey Swanger from Haverhill Gymnastics Club

Haverhill Gymnastics Club is revelling in the most recent successes of its athletes, after two promising gymnasts competed at the Suffolk County Championships — with one taking a bronze medal.

Eleanor Bunch, 14, and Lindsey Swanger, 12, are two of the club’s most decorated acrobats, who regularly compete at county level and took part in the Level Four category at the tournament.

Head coach Kevin Woolcott said the pair were coming on leaps and bounds and were already among the club’s most successful gymnasts.

And Bunch, a pupil at Castle Manor Academy, managed to finish in third on the podium in the Suffolk competition and progress to the Regional Finals next month.

Swanger, who is a member of the Suffolk county squad, did not progress this time but has done in the past. Her mum Elizabeth said her daughter, who has been training at the gymnastics club for the past two years, had tried some new routines for the first time.

“She consistently goes to the regionals and also trains with the county squad every other month,” she said.

“She really enjoys every chance to represent her club and we’re really happy with Kevin and the training.

“Lindsey has her sights set on national grading eventually, and I’m sure she can do it, she’s already developed so much in the two years since training with Haverhill.”

Bunch, meanwhile, has been with the club since she was just five years old, and moved with them to the new facilities in 2015.

She said: “It’s really good because it means all my hard work has paid off.

“Getting a medal is so lovely as well, whenever I look at it I’m going to be able to remember the great feeling and success of the competition.

“It also motivates me even further for the rest of the competitions I have this year, to keep going and train hard.

“And it’s also really exciting to keep working and getting closer to Level One — and then, well, I’m not actually sure what comes after that.

“I’m just focused on getting better and better and it’s great to be getting the medals for the club, it’s a nice feeling.”

Bunch pointed out how important the new facilities, which were opened in November 2015, have been to her development.

“I think I’ve developed a lot as a gymnast since we’ve been in the new facilities,” she said.

“They’re really important to training — I’m able to train for longer but it’s also in a building that’s set up for gymnastics so we don’t have to fit in around whatever club was allowing us to use the facilities.

“And I’m getting better at the events too because I’m able to prepare more for the competitions.”

Her dad, Trev Bunch, agreed as he said one of the most obvious improvement’s in his daughter’s ability came from a growing confidence.

“They train for 12 hours a week since they got the modern facilities — they didn’t do as well before,” he said.

“And it’s been massive for Eleanor’s development — she’s so much more confident in her skills than before. The whole family are very proud of her bronze medal.

“I know she wants to get on the podium at the regionals, but she knows how hard that’s going to be. I think she’s just pleased to qualify.”